The Pricing Effects of Securities Class Action Lawsuits and Litigation Insurance
University of California at Los Angeles - Anderson School of Management
November 5, 2012
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 493-532, 2014
The price reactions to corrective disclosures often serve as a benchmark for settlements in securities class action lawsuits. When the firm bears litigation costs, this benchmark creates a feedback effect that exacerbates the price reaction to news that contradicts managers' earlier reports. Litigation insurance provides value in this setting by reducing the need for investors to price the effects of anticipated litigation. Insurance also affects how changes in the litigation environment impact the firm, with some changes having opposite effects on the frequency of lawsuits against uninsured and insured firms. The pricing behavior of rational investors eliminates the valuation impact of the portion of settlements paid to investors, similar to dividends. The valuation impact of litigation arises from transaction costs, such as attorney fees, that the firm can mitigate by constraining misreporting and by purchasing insurance.
Keywords: Securities litigation, Litigation insurance, Earnings management, Rational expectations, Reporting bias
JEL Classification: G14, G30, K22, M41
Date posted: August 18, 2010 ; Last revised: August 22, 2014